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The excerpt at right is from page ? of Jerry's popular book, LIVEcareFULLY: The importance of caring in a life of significance.

It can be purchased here.

Until We Meet Again

The hospital ward was our home. At any given time there would be 10 to 14 of us recovering from medical procedures. The nurses in this children’s ward were so very caring, treating a lot of pain that went beyond the physical. Many kids were traumatized when they were left in this unfamiliar place.

We built friendships like an internal neighborhood. Among the difficulties could be heard laughter as we played games or assembled puzzles. We had visitors, though we were seldom good hosts. The hospitality came from those that entered the dark building. Many came just to care. Cousins and more distant relatives on my mother’s side were often there, prompting a smile as they handed me a card or a gift.

Every now and then a person like Roy Rogers or Dale Evans would walk through the door. The stir they created was powerful. The difference they made went well beyond the silver screen. Now, it is fascinating to look at the lyrics of “Happy trails,” the theme song from the Roy Rogers show. The words so clearly tell the hopeful tale of a child confined in the hospital.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smilin’ until then.

Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you,
‘Til we meet again.

As I looked around the ward, I knew that I was blessed. I remember one little guy that I would stare at as he hungrily spooned food into his mouth. He was only four years old and did not yet know how to read. I was six, almost seven, and I eagerly waited for him to finish his meal so that I could read my newest book to him. I was fortunate. I knew it as my hands picked up the book.

As he ate, my little friend held his spoon between his toes. He had no hands. He had no arms. He had only one leg. It may be that my friendship and reading helped him, but his very presence in that lonely ward showed me early on that I could care and give, and that I was truly blessed.

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